I have three appointments coming up. And I’m excited for all three. They are just check-ups – nothing is wrong with me (no wise cracks!).
Saturday morning I will sit in a familiar chair at a familiar office and an unfamiliar doctor will examine my eyes. As much as I love visiting the eye doctor, it won’t be the same. Not this time around. My doctor of 17+ years changed clinics. That’s fine. I guess. I mean, a lot of doctors move around for career reasons, etc. The thing that’s not fine is that this doctor didn’t tell me he was switching clinics – changing locations. He just left. After 17+ years, an average of one visit per year, and four eye surgeries with this doctor, you’d think he would have had the decency to tell me goodbye. I mean, I’m sure I was his favorite patient!
To top it off, the woman who handles my contacts (the optometrist) will not be examining me on Saturday, either. She won’t come in to greet me or ask how I’m doing. And she won’t tell me that my doctor, my favorite doctor, will be “right in, he’s just finishing up with another patient.” And that doctor won’t breeze through the door and study my charts and ask me how I’m doing. He won’t ask the routine questions in his routine manner. He won’t smile and tell me he’ll see me next year.
I know I could have easily found his new clinic, his new office. But I didn’t. I don’t think I will (unless this Saturday is a total disaster…). I should try to get in to see him – I should remain loyal to that doctor who saw me through my eye surgeries and countless pairs of glasses. But I’m not going to. Because maybe this is a natural ending – life’s way of telling me I’m grown up. Perhaps it is time for me to bravely step out from what I’ve known and loved for so many years – what I trusted.
Kindergarten to present (January 2009) is a long stretch of time – a long time with one eye doctor and one optometrist. The continuity with them was reassuringly Minnesotan. Now, I’ll start all over. It will be odd, to say the least, to have a new doctor ask familiar questions in an unfamiliar manner. But I will survive. I will move forward and count my blessings. For 17+ years, I had an amazing eye doctor who took care of my vision so that “eye” could see the beauty around me – the beauty that allows a patient to see the same doctor all through elementary school, middle school, high school, college, and beyond. The beauty and wonder of Minnesota – all of its sights and wonders.